|Newspaper Title||Queanbeyan Age (NSW : 1867 - 1904)|
|Trove Title||For Cora's Sake|
alit itoratellyr. FOR CORA'S SAKE, CHAPTER XXXI.-(Continued.) ' Clarence, take the fastest horse in the stable and go yourself to North End to fetch the doctor. You can hriog hint sooner th,:, any servant I must g*i directly on ro Ruckhold. COurt must dlelbsy her jouruey again. Be off, Clarence !' uild Mr Fabian. And while the elder hruther returned to the house, the younger w'.t to get his horse. ' Cora I'. called Mr. Fai'ia,. 'You cannot go away to-day.' ' Why I' inquired the young lady. 'Don't talk ! Listen ! Your grandfather is ill-very ill. Old John has just come from Rockhold to tell me.' 'Oh 1 I am very sorry.' ' No time for words.! Go put on your bonnet and come along with me, the carriage that was to have taken tne to North End must take us both to Rockhold. Hurry, Cora.' ' But Violet '. ' I will go and tell Violet that grandfather is not feeling very well, and has sent for you I calh do this while you are getting ready to go. Then come into the nursery and hid Violet good-bye.' Coruua hurried up to her roiuu, and quickly put on her bonnet and fur-lined cloak; and then ran into the nursery, where she found'Violet nursing -her baby, looking serious but composed, and evidently uncen scioiik of old Aaron Rockharrt's danger. Mr. Fabian was standing at the back of her chair, sothat she might not read the truth in his face. ' So yon are going homoeso suddenly, Cora, dear I I am so sorry the father is not feel ing well that I cannot even ask you to stay here a moment longer. Give my love to the father, and tell him if he does not get better in a day or two I shall bo sure to cone and nurse him.' She could not rise without disturbing her precious baby, but she raised her head and put up her lips, that Cora might kiss her good-bye. Then' Cora followed her uncle down stairs, and in five minutes more they were. seated in the carriage, slowly winding their way down the dangerous mountain pass to. the river road that led to Rockhold. ' Uncle Fabian,' said Corona, gravely, ' I have been trying to think what is right for me to do. This sorrowful news took me so completely by surprise, and your rliraetions wer'e so.prompt and peremptory, that I had not a moment for. reflection; so that I followed your lead automatically. But now, Uncle Fabian, I have considered, and I ask you as I have asked myself-am I right in going bank to Rockhold, after my grand father has sent me away, and forbidden me ever to return? Tell me, UTncle Fabian.' SMy dear, what do you yourself wish to do?' he inquired. ' To return to Rockhold and nurso my grandfather, If he will allow me to do so.' '.Then-by all means do so.' 'But, Uncle Fabian-against my grand father's express command ?' ' Good Heaven, girl I' Those commands ' were issued by a well and angry man. You are returning to minister to an ill and perhaps a dying one.' 'Still, Fabian, would it not seem to be taking advantage of my grandfather's help less state to return I I think it would, and the, more I reflect the surer I feel that I ought not to enter unbidden. And-I wAill not. But I will remain within call.' 'Where ?' 'At the ferryman's cottage. Will you, Uncle Fabian, as soon as you have a chance; ask him to forgive me, and let me come, to him ?' 'Yes, I will, my dear.' The subject was dropped. The horses were put upon their speed, and I they soon reached RBockhold. ' I will wait in the carriage until you go in and inquire. how he is,' said Corona, as the carriage drew up at the door. Fabian hurried into the house, when: lie met Martha. 'How is your master ?' he breathlessly inquired. ' Oh' Marse, Fabe, jes' livin', an' dat's all ! Duano nuifin,' the woman wept. 'Who is with him ?' ',Me mos' times, and young Mark. I jes' come down when I see do carrij dribs up.' ' Then go back. I will come in when I speak to my. niece.' He had only left Corn for two. minutes, yet she was pale with suspense. ' How is he 1'. she panted. ' .UIiconscious, my. poor girl. Oh, Corn, conic in.' . No, .T must not.' 'Charles, he said to the driver, ' tako Mrs Rothsay down to the ferry house, and then take the cnrriage to. the stables.' The cottage was emptly, the ferryman w:as britiging Clarence and the (loctor across. :Meanwhile Fabian had re-entered the hall ann' hurried up to his father's ro'mn. Ho found the Iron King in beth, lying on his right side and breathing 'heavily. His eyes were half closet!. *Father,' said the son.
Thera, was no response. ' Martha, tell me when this happened. Come away and tell me.' ' Might's well tell yer rite here, marse. Twon' tsturvo him.' Then tell me, how was it I When was he stricken9', We don't know, maise. He wus found jes dis way by John ldis mornin,' 'cept nat hn was on do other side. Den we sent rite off for you, to ketch yer at home 'fore yer went to de works.' "Did he seem well when he came home last nighbl' 'RsR out as ujual, marse. He camne in, an' John waited on him. An he axed, ole marse did, " was Mrs. Rossay gone 1" W'ich John tole him she were. Don he ordered dinner to be fotch up. Don he went in by himself. An' young Mark he tell oso he eat much-as uj~uil. Don arter dinner he went to do liberairy an' sot dere a long time. Ole John say it wore midnighb'forecde olo manrse walk up stairs an' call him to wait on him.' - Was John ' the last one who saw my father before he was found unconscious this morning.?' ` Hi I. yes, young. mur ., to- he sure he were,. .:De las' to see ik ole, marse -in healf, an' do firs' t,, ftha him rlis morn.' - How camn h's to find his maste in this aondioion I'
' It were dis way. Yer know, young marse, as der is two keys to ole marser's do', wich ole marser keeps one to lock hisself in, an' John keeps one to let hisse'f in-when de ale marse rings in de mornin'.' 'Yes; I know.' ' Well, dis mornin' de ole mnarse didn't ring at his ujual hour. An' do time passed, an' de breakfast were reddy an' spilin'. So I tole .JIhn how he better go up an' see if ,,le marse was well, how maybe he didn't friil like gettin'up an' might want to take his breakfas' in bed. Well, den, John he went an' tipped soft like. But he didn't get no an-swer. Den he rap little louder. But still no answer. Ddn John he got scared, awful sciared. Las' he plucks up courij, and unlocks de do', slow an' soft, an' gnes in on tiptoe to de bedside, an'-dis yer is wot he seen. He t'ought his ole manse were dead sure, an' he cum howlin' an' tumblin' down to me, an' tole me so, an' I tole young Mark to follow me, case ole John warnt no good, an' I run up yere, an'-an'-dis yere is wot I foun' I Only he were a-laying on his lef' side, an' I see he were breaving an' I turn him over on his right, did all I could for him en' sent John artor you.' ' I wish the doctor would come,' said Mr. Fabian, anxiously, as he took his. father's hand again and tried to feel the pulse. The door opened very quietly, and Clar once came into the room. Fabian beckoned him to approach the bed. How is he I?' inquired the younger man. ' As you see I He was found in this con dition by his servant this morning. He has shown no sign of consciousness since,' replied the elder.
' The doctor is below. Shall he cone up now?' Certainly.' Clarence, loft the ronm and soon returned with the physician. After a very brief examination of pulse, temperature, and pupils of the eyes of the patient, prompt.mtasures were take to relieve the evident presture on the brain. The doctor bled the sufferer, who presently opened his. eyes, and looked slowly around his bed. His two sons bent over him. He tried to speak. They.hent still lower to listen. After several futile efforts he uttered one word :. ' Core.' Yes, father-she is here.. Go, Clarence, and fetch her at once. She is at the ferry man's cottage.' The last sentence was added in a 'low whisper. Clarence immediately left the room to do his errand. A few minutes later the door opened softly, and Clarence re entered the room with Corn. Mr. Fabian went to meet her, saying softly : ' He has called for. you, dear I The only word he has spoken since he recovered con sciousness was your name.' ' So Unclo Olarence told me,' she said in a broken voice. ' Come to him now' said Fabian, -leading her to the bedside.. - Shn sank on her knees and took the hand of the dying manti and kissed it pleading - ' Grandfathu'., dear grandfather, I love you. I amt grieved at having offeuded you. Will you forgive me-now I'
He made several painful efforts to answer her, before he utt'erid the few disconnected words : ' Yes-forgive-you-Cora.' She bathed his hand with her tears. All on her part was also forgotten now-all the harshness and despotism of years was for gotten now, and nothing was remembered but the grey-haired man, always grey haired in hlr knowledge of him, who had protected her orphanage and given her a home and an education. Shli knelt there holding his hand, and was presently touched and comforted beuause the fingers of (that hand closed on her's with a loving pressure that they had never given h'r in all her life before. This wasthe last sign, of consciousness he gave for many hours. Mr. Fabian took the doctor aside. 'Ought I to send for my wife ?' he inquired. ' Yes; T think so,' replied the physician. And the son knew that answer was his father's sentence of death. Not one of the family could be spared from this deaths bed to go and fetch Violet. So 31r. Fabian went downstairs to the library and wrote a hasty note : - DRAB VIOLET-You offered to come and help to nurse the father, who is sicker than we thought, but with no contagious fever. Come row, dear, and bring baby and nurse, for'you may have to stay, severral' days. FAUXAN. He enclosed this letter in an envelope and took it (Iown to the 's6ible; where he found his own groom Charles in the coachman's rcom. ' Put the horses, to the carriage again, and
return to Violet -Banks to bring your mistress here. Give her this note. It will explain all.' He. 'found the same group, around the deathbed. Two hours 'passed away without any change. The sound of wheels without could be "heard !through the profound still ness 'of 'the death chamber. Fabian 'again left the room to receive his wife. He met Violet in the hall. She was closely followed' by the nurse and the child. ' How is father I' she enquired. ' He is, very ill, my dear, but resting quietly just at present. Here, is Martha; she will take you to your room and make you and the baby comfortable. Then, as soon as you can, come to', the father's chamber; you `know where to' find it,' said Fabian. ' Yes; I can find my way very well,' answered Violet, as she followed the house. keeper upstairs. Fabian 'returned' to the chamber of the dying man, where in a few minutes he was *joined by Violet. She "entered the room very softly, so that her' approach 'was not heard until she reached the bedside. Then she took and silently pressed the hands that were silently held out by Cora, and finally she knelt down beside her. Daydeclined. Through thefront windows of the death room the western sky could be seen, dark, lowering and stormy. A long range of heavy clouds lay massed above the horizon, obscuring the light of the sinking sun, hut leaving a narrow line of clear sky just along the top of the western ridge. Presently a singularly beautiful effect was produced. The sun, sinking below the dark
.luud iato the clear gold line of sky, sent firth a blaze of light from the mountain heights, across the river, and into the chamber of death. Was it this sudden illumination that kindled the fire of life in the; dying man into a last expiring flame, or was it indeed the presence of a spiritual visitant, visible only to the vanishing spirit? Who can tell ? Suddenly old Aaron Rockharrt opened his eyes, these great, strong black eyes that had ever been a terror to the evil doer-and the well-does also-and stared before him, held up his hands and exclaimed: '.Deborah I Deborah I' 4 And then he dropped his arms-byhis side, and with a long, deep-drawn sigh fell asleep. The name of his old wife was the last word upon his dying lips. No one btut the doctor knew what had happened. He bent over the lifeless shell, giaced on the face, felt the pulse, felt the heart, andthen stood' up and said: ' All its over, iiy dear; friends. His pas-, tage has been: quite painless. I never saw an easier death.' And he drew up the sheet over the face of the dead. Although all day they had hourly expected this end, yet now they could not quite believe that it had indeed come. The hige, strong man, the rugged Iron King-deasl 7. He who, if not as indestruct able, as he seemed,. was at least constituted of that stern stuff of which centenarians are made, and whom all expected should live far up into the nighties or nineties-dead? The father who had lived over them like some mighty governing and protecting power all
their lives, necessary, inevitable, inseparable from their lives-dead? !Come, my dear,' said Mr. Clarence, gently raising Corona and leading her aWay. ' You have this to console you: he died reconciled to you, holding your hand in his to the last.' ' Ah, deaI* Uncle Clarence, you have much more to console you, for you never failed even once in your duty to him, and never gave him one moment of uneasines in all your life,' replied Corona, as she left him in front of her old room. She entered and shut the door and gave way to the natural grief that overwhelmed her for a time. When she was sufflciently composed she sat down and wrote to her brother, informing him of what had occurred, and telling. him that she still held her purpose of going out to him with the Nevilles.